How to write persuasively?

Author- | Posted- | Updated: December 23, 2016 |

The Art and importance of Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing is intended to persuade the reader and not inform him. However, persuasion is a difficult task and therefore focus must remain on building an infallible argument. To persuade your audience you first need to know it. You have to understand its beliefs and how far or close they are from your point. It is quite a lot like arguing your case before a jury where the jury is the audience.  You are going to cook a recipe that must have the right flavor.. Suppose you have an idea in your mind and you wish the people to believe in it. Your first step would be to gain acceptance from your audience. To gain acceptance, you first need to know your audience and what your audience already knows about your idea. If your idea is new, it might be easier to sell it but if there are other similar ideas already in the market, your first step would be to engage with the uniqueness of your idea. A unique idea is generally easier to sell. The same applies to persuasive writing too. You must analyse your audience and estimate its response  before you make a final presentation. In this way, you would be able to estimate how easy or difficult it will be to make it agree. 

Persuasive writing is everywhere. It is in the newspapers, the television and even in the online environment. Everywhere you will find that everyone is trying to persuade his audience. Whether it is the billboard beside the road or the  ad on the television or even the  editorial before the elections in your favorite magazine, you will find the use of this art everywhere. Even in normal life, if you are writing to request your professor for re-exams, first know how to persuade him. This is the importance of being persuasive. There are some critical elements of persuasiveness. First part is the informational part, the second is more of an art. You need to fill in the right information, then  you need to present it in a way that appeals and does not repel. You know you do not show the weaknesses of your product to the customer if you are trying to sell. The focus has to be on the strengths and the uniqueness.  The most persuasive arguments are the balanced arguments. They do not tilt on either side. If you are thinking of taking risks, then be clever and calculate them first.  The more you try to fly off your point, the more difficult it will be to sustain attention. However, uniqueness is essential to catch attention. Unless there is something unique  about your argument, it will remain difficult to catch attention. Readers do not find such messages worth attention.  

Persuasion is an art, but not witchcraft. You would not just say anything unique or exciting and the audience will feel bewitched. So, persuasion is a science also. You have to present the evidence to support the stand you take. This is about the content of your argument. Other things too matter when you are trying to write a persuasive message.

  • Use the right tone – Your message must talk to the audience in the right tone. Neither too inflammatory unless you intend it and nor too mild unless necessary. If the tone is perfect, it is easier to get the message across and then persuasion would not be difficult.
  •   Be clear : Set a clear direction for your message. Work in the right  direction and do not vary from it. If you do, getting back becomes difficult. Readers would not like to tumble because that makes them lose focus. So, whatever you are writing, try to achieve clarity. Ads generally use short, sweet and clear messages.
  • Catch attention, engage and sustain: Start with something that brings attention to your point immediately. However, while trying to catch attention, no need to use something too catchy. Readers may find it a bit sloppy. If you wish to sustain the audience’s attention, you must know to moderate the flavor. Inject too much flavor and readers would feel spoilt. That is not a very good sign. Keep the tone just as serious or funky as necessary.

These are the most important things that can help you achieve your purpose and persuade your readers. Readers particularly feel persuaded when the picture is clear as water. So, do check if the point  you are making is clear to them. Clarity can help you achieve your purpose. The degree of persuasion you can achieve depends on the clarity of your message and its tone or flavor too. And do not forget your audience. Know its flavor to taste success. 

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.